Paper Christmas Ornaments

paper christmas ornamentsOh what fun it is to craft on gusty winter day, HEY!

Here are some fun ornaments that you can make strips of paper. You can use construction paper, recycled magazines, recycled books, newspaper, fancy scrapbook paper, or make strips out of artwork that your kids have pre-designed.

You will need scissors, a stapler, a hole punch and some tacky glue for this craft. Cut paper into 1/2 inch strips of different sizes. I typically cut the paper into strips that are about 2 inches shorter each time. For this ornament, I think I cut a 6″, 8″, and 10″ strip. Glued them into circles and then glued the circles together.

paper flower Christmas Ornament

I made this flower ornament using this same template.

Paper ornamentThen, I glued both sides together…tacky glue works best.

Then I glued them in the center using a paper clip to hold them together while it dried.


paper ornament instructionsThen I glued two of these together (holding with paper clip) to make this:

You will need to make 2 sets of these.

paper ornament instructionsThen I cut a slit half way through (perpendicular) the center of both of these sets of petals.

paper ornament instructionsThen with both slits facing, I slid the 2 together to make the flower.

Paper flower ornamentI cut a small paper circle, smaller than a dime and glued on top to finish.

Paper flower ornamentI just wish I had some better colored paper when I started. A fun activity for an indoor day.

How to Make Cork Christmas Wreaths

How to make a cork WreathYou’ve been saving corks for some unknown reason and now you need something to do with them. Cork wreaths make great gifts and corks are easy to work with. Kids love to work with corks because of their ease of use.

This fun cork project requires a bucket of corks, a straw wreath base, and a ton load of hot glue. If you don’t have corks, just ask your favorite waiter at a local restaurant to start saving them for you.

Let’s get started:

Sort the corks into two piles: synthetic and authentic. I use the synthetic corks for the base. Simply start gluing corks in rows to the inside ring of the wreath base. Make sure to remove any plastic from wreath as it will melt. If you are doing this project with the kids, make sure to use a low-temp hot glue! With this much glue, someone is likely to get burned….though I must admit that the high-temp glue works better.

If you get to a place where you have a gap, but your cork is too long, you will have to cut your cork. Here’s a secret, put a few corks in a steamer basket and steam them until they swell. This is when they are easiest to cut. When you have covered the front of the wreath with rings of corks, you can move on to the random pattern to bulk it up. You do not need to cover the back of the wreath. If you like the result of the concentric rings, you are done and can decorate with ribbon, silk grape vines, or whatever suits you. I like to bulk up the wreath a bit.

To bulk up the cork wreath place a line of glue along a cork and place it somewhat perpendicular to the ring. Alternate the direction and angle with which you place the corks. Continue placing corks until you have accomplished your desired result.

Hope you enjoyed!

How to Make Sign Language Alphabet Flash Cards

Sign Language Flash Cards

Flashcards are fun to make and are very useful for helping children (and adults) learn the signs for the letters of the alphabet. They can also be used for playing different games and other activities. Flashcards can be made in a number of different configurations using basic signs, colors, the alphabet or numbers. However, for this article, I will show you how to make flashcards for the alphabet.

The basic idea behind the flashcards is to show the hand shape for each letter on one side of the cards while the opposite side shows the letter itself. Children love to help make the cards. Cutting, gluing and taking pictures are the perfect activities to get them involved in the project. There are obviously many variations that you may discover when making flashcards. There are no set rules he. The point of this exercise is to have fun and make a useful end product.

The instructions below focus on the assembly of the flashcards. If you are not familiar with the Sign Language alphabet, also referred to as the Manual Alphabet, you will need to learn your letter signs. While there are numerous alphabet charts on the internet, I recommend going to the LifePrint site where you will be able to print out some of the letters and even download the Sign Language alphabet font. Another option is to purchase the Sign Language ABCS Coloring Book and make larger flashcards 5X7″ or so, or buy the downloadable version from TeachersPayTeachers and when you print the pages, choose the option of scaling the images to 25% or 50% before printing. Then you can use them as is or color, cut and paste on the opposite side of the card.

Can you buy pre-made flashcards? Of course! But more learning takes place if you do this on your own, or in a classroom. Whenever you add a kinesthetic activity to your lesson, more connections are made in the brain, even if it is just coloring. So, I believe that this is a worthwhile project.



Supplies needed for flashcards:

Index cards or card stock cut to 3” X 5” or your desired custom size

Pictures or illustrations of the alphabet signs

Letters (stenciled, die cut, or cut from magazines)




Laminating pouches & a laminator(optional)

how to make sign language flashcardsInstructions:

1.)  Print out your alphabet signs (again, you may find these on the LifePrint site, by doing an internet search for Sign Language Alphabet, or purchasing the Sign Language ABCs Coloring Book). Make sure that they are the right size to fit on your index cards. Alternately you can take pictures of your students, friends or family signing each letter. This personalizes the flashcards and makes them more fun to use.

2.)  Cut out each hand shape and glue it to one side of the card. Glue the corresponding letter to the opposite side of the card. If you do not have a stencil or die cut letters you may simply write the corresponding letter on the back of the card.

3.)  Always allow the glue to dry before moving onto step 4.

How to make alphabet flashcards4.)  Laminate the cards.

5.)  Have fun and enjoy!


Note: While laminating the cards is optional, it will keep them from getting damaged and they will be reusable for new children that come along, either in your classroom or in your family. These cards can be used to play memory and matching games, or you may use them for what they are: flash cards.


Predator is the Theme for Halloween

Carving a Predator PumpkinPredator seems to be popular with the boys this year. Everything old is new again, I guess. So, I was asked to make a predator costume and carve a predator pumpkin. Luckily I found that Paul Atwood had carved a Predator Pumpkin, and I followed his design.

The costume took quite a while, but was made mostly out of a mat that you put in the back of your pick-up truck. The rubber material was easy to cut with a utility knife (only for adult use!)

Predator Halloween Costume

The Helmet was made from a bicycle helmet, a pie tin, foam, an old Darth Vader Mask, paper mache, duck tape and paint. The dreadlocks were made out this foam stuff that you seal caulking with, the hardware store guy pointed it out for me.

Paper Mache Predator Mask

Haunted House Collage Craft for Kids

With only a few days left before Halloween, this Haunted House Collage is an easy way to make last minute decorations or occupy the kiddos. All you need is paper, glue and scissors, and a craft knife (for adults only).

I just used 9X12 construction paper and had the kids pick out the background color that they liked best. Purple, royal blue, and charcoal gray seem to work best.

Then we need to make the moon. Circles can be difficult to create, but I just use a lid to one of my pots and trace it on a bright yellow piece of paper before cutting it out. The bigger you make it, the better the collage turns out. (see below). Glue the moon onto the background.

Now for the haunted house: Using a white crayon, draw your best haunted house on black paper and cut it out. If the pictured design is too hard for you to copy, use the tips from my previous post on creating a city scape collage. You can simply cut out long black rectangles for the house and triangles for the roof and then overlap them to create the building.


Next, cut out several rectangles for windows and glue into place. For this craft, the adult can use a craft knife to cut out the doors and fold them back, then glue the yellow paper behind. Again, if this is too much work, simply glue the yellow paper on the front to make more windows and doors. Finally you can embellish the moon with bats….and if you want, use a black pen to draw spooky things in the windows like spiderwebs, ghosts, witches and ghouls.

Happy Halloween!


City Scape Collage Art Project for Kids

City Scape Collage Art Project for KidsA City Scape Collage is a great art project for kids. This project is especially effective for 1st-3rd grade classrooms. Collaging is fun and easy and your kids will get amazing results if they follow simple instructions.

For this project you will need 11X17 Black construction paper for the back. For the buildings you can use construction paper scraps, newspapers, magazines, and cardboard. Brighter colors make more exciting pictures. The project shown here uses only construction paper. The only other things you will need are scissors and glue.

Have the students cut out 2-6 rectangles for their buildings. Make sure they arrange them on the paper before they begin to glue them on. Remind them that the building can overlap. Next, ask them what shapes the roofs can be (flat, triangle, squiggley). Have them cut and glue roofs. Windows are a little tricky, I recommend showing the kids how to cut a strip of paper and then cut windows from the strip. I also explain the trick for gluing (put the glue on the building instead of the window). Glue the windows on. Then I have the kids make a billboard where they can “sign” their picture. Some students decided to add trees, airplanes, helicopters, and cars by figuring out the shapes and cutting them out.

One the students have complete their art, it can be displayed all connected in a long line. You will be amazed at the results!

City Scape Collage Art Project for Kids

2nd-Grade City Scape Collage2nd-Grade City Scape Collage City Scape Collage Art Projects or Kids

How to Make Tissue Paper Flowers for Dia de los Muertos

How to make Tissue Paper Flowers for Dia de los MuertosIt’s October and craft season has officially begun. I am especially excited about Dia de los Muertos this year because Guillermo Del Toro will bring us a wonderful animated 3D movie called the Book of Life that will introduce this colorful holiday to the world.


One of my favorite things to make for Dia de los Muertos is Tissue Paper Flowers. The kids love to make these. At my parties, I find even the dad’s will get into it.


All you need to make these beauties is an array of colored tissue paper, scissors, and a piece of ribbon or floral wire. You can even do it with newspaper.


I layer about four to six sheets of tissue paper, fold in half length-wise. You can cut in half and layer again if you like.


Start a fan fold at one end and just fold back and forth.


Secure the center with a piece of ribbon, a twist tie, a pipe cleaner or floral wire.


Cut the edges so they are rounded.


Open up the fan on each side.


Then pull each layer of tissue paper towards you.


In the video below, she is making pompoms, in which case you will pull tissue in both directions. For flowers, just pull up in one direction.


All Finished. Add them to an alter or give them to your friends. And of course they make great party decorations. You can use the sugar skull designs form the Day of the Dead Sugar Skull Coloring Book for more alter decorations.

Dia del los Muertos Altersugar skull coloring book

The Truth about Pinterest Party Food

spider and eyeball eggs for halloweenLast year, my son wanted a Halloween Party. Of course, I used Pinterest as my resource and found all kinds of fun stuff to make. I made deviled eggs that looked like spiders and eyeballs. I made mini jack-o-lantern rice balls. I made mini pumpkin pies. The moms oooo’ed and aaawed, but the kids didn’t care at all. They went straight for the treats, and then for the games, which were a big hit. My snack table looked super cute, BUT! It took forever to make these little treats! And quite frankly, it was a lot of work. This year, we will have more games, and I will spend less time making fancy food!

Classroom Activities for Halloween

Skeleton Assembly Races

Kids love this game! And teachers can use this opportunity to teach their kids about how  bones fit together in the human body. What do you need to play? You need at least 2 copies of this printable skeleton that is part of the Day of the Dead Sugar Skull Coloring Book or the Life-size Human Anatomy Lesson.

How to play? Teach the kids a basic lesson about anatomy and bones. Assemble one of the skeletons and allow the kids time to understand how the bones fit together. Then, divide the class into groups and give each group one complete set of bones. Start the timers and have the kids assemble their skeletons. The First group to assemble their skeleton correctly wins the game.









The Day of the Dead Sugar Skull Coloring Sheets are available from Lucid Publishing on Amazon as a hard copy or from Teachers Pay Teachers or Teachers Notebook as a download. The Life-sized Anatomy Lesson is also available on Teachers Notebook (see sidebar widget) or Teachers Pay Teachers.